Category Archives: Family

Building the Lodge: The Home Stretch

I had the rare opportunity to go out to the lodge by myself last week. We needed to bring a bunch of light fixtures out so I stepped up to the plate and delivered them safely. Not only was I happy to get rid of part of the gigantic stack of boxes in the dining room, I could hardly wait to see the house.

With just one week left until our furniture starts arriving at The Lodge there is a lot that still needs to get done. All of the finishing touches need to be wrapped up and completed. Our fingers are crossed that things will come together at the 11th hour and we’ll be able to get moved in.

It feels like a circus right now with all of the coordinating and the logistics happening. It’s a funny game of logistics and coordination trying to figure out when to order certain things and finalizing the details on what seems to be a hundred million little pieces.

Everything is coming together really nicely, albeit a bit slower than we had hoped. The colors and materials in the house look incredible. I love how everything goes so well together. I love how the kitchen hardware looks.

When I arrived at the house I was pleasantly surprised that the counters were being installed. We have the same quartz slabs in all 3 bathrooms as we do in the kitchen.

There were so many people working that day that I tried to get in, drop the lights off, and go so that they could focus on their work.

The painters were there doing touch up work and finishing painting the trim. We decided to paint the trim around the windows the same color as the walls and I love how it turned out. Before the trim had been painted at all {it came white} we thought there was too much contrast between the trim, the wall color and the black windows so we opted to minimize that by keeping the color consistent with the wall.

I couldn’t get over the richness and depth of the wood color of our interior doors. They are knotty alder. The painters applied a clear {or mostly clear?} coat over the doors and they are stunning. The doors are one of my favorite parts of the house, though it’s really hard to play favorites.

Another new thing I got to see in person for the first time is our “boot bench” in the front entry. I can’t wait to organize this! We found some really beautiful hooks that will be mounted in the big open part, otherwise I’ll be on the hunt for a bunch of baskets to have to store our outdoor gear in the little cubbies. Opposite from the boot bench we have a big closet with plenty of coat storage, as well as a long shelf for more baskets or containers for, you guessed it, more gear. I knew that year-round gear storage would be really important to us so this space was a big part of the planning process.

The last thing I got to see taking shape was the pantry! I’m so excited to have a walk-in pantry – and one that’s not cavernous like my current pantry. This will come in so handy for a vacation home. I can’t wait to stock up on pantry supplies. I am so looking forward to cooking and baking up here with my kiddos while watching the snow fall out the windows, and I can speak for my mother in-law and say I know that she is excited for that too.

My visit at the house was so quick and I wasn’t ready to leave the area so I popped into town {the little village is called Plain – it’s about a 1-2 minute drive from our house} and grabbed lunch at The Old Mill. I swung through Plain Hardware for a coffee to take with me for my drive back and then made a quick stop at Lake Wenatchee just to take in the view. It was such a gorgeous day and I really wanted to stay in the mountains.

All in all, the house is coming together and so much is happening this week. Though the house won’t be 100% complete, Alex is planning two U-haul trips out there this weekend to clear out all of the boxes from my office {omg.}. The following week we’re planning on officially moving in and Alex’s parents will be out there enjoying the house with us. I’m headed out for the week of President’s Day with the kids and my dad since school is out. If all goes according to plan, the house should be complete, save for a shower door and some light fixtures, by February 10th.

We are SO close it is just tantalizing right now. It’s been so far away for so long that now that it’s almost here it’s almost hard to believe.

#Momlife

I’ve been moming real hard lately and it has been wonderful. We have had so much going on recently and I have really savored the time I spent with my littles, in particular the one-on-one time.

The one-on-one time I have been able to spend with Ben recently has been extra special. With all of the people around for the holidays and all of the change we had going on I was really missing my biggest little and I think the feeling was mutual. It’s so hard when there’s so much going on to be able to break away just the two of us and have some mama/Ben time. I was so grateful for more opportunities when December turned into January.

I have built-in time with Ben, just the two of us, four mornings a week when I take him to preschool. Once a week I stay for the two-hour class at his co-op and we get to play together. He absolutely loves co-op and that time is really special for both of us.

Usually co-op ends with a steamed milk or a hot chocolate – partly as a special treat for keeping his pants dry and partly because I’m a softie. I never thought I’d be a softie but I totally am. And I’m ok with that!

Ben has been growing up so fast and I can’t stand it. It’s hard to think how close we are to times when he’s not going to need us as much and when he’s going to be so independent he won’t want our help constantly, and, heartbreakingly, the time will come when he won’t want to cuddle or be picked up all the time.

Obviously I want my kids to grow up and be independent and self-sufficient but I love so much this beautiful season that we’re in right now. I know every milestone and every phase results in more and more fun but I’m getting so much joy from where we’re at that I want to relish it as long as I can. My babies aren’t going to be babies for much longer, after all.

My littlest is growing at warp speed. It did not go this fast with Ben as a baby, that’s for sure. I hope that life starts to slow down once our weekends will be spent together as a family in the mountains. Something tells me that’s naive.

I also savor the moments, though, when I can enjoy my coffee + biscotti in the morning, read my book {currently reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine}, cook and plan out the week. My time cooking is extremely limited these days, as is my computer and planning time. I have become much better at making the time to have some coffee and read in the mornings by purposefully waking up early. I absolutely love sitting in silence in the dark, enjoying the calm of the morning.

If I’m being honest, the part of #momlife I like the least right now is trying to schedule in time to pump. I’m constantly on the go for my job and it is really tricky some days to make the time. My work schedule is flexible but some days there is simply not enough time between appointments. Thankfully I’ve been able to have a low/no-stress approach to this so far and while I’m hoping to be able to keep up with Hannah’s needs with breast milk, I’m totally fine if we need to supplement with formula.

{cup of ice from the coffee shop to keep the milk cold!}

I’ve had a bit of an interesting go of things recently as a cat mom. Poor Henry got injured a few weeks ago and has required quite a lot of follow-up treatment as a result. We were at the vet every day last week and I’m happy to say Henry has made a complete recovery now. My sweet Ben melted everyone’s heart at the vet, though, when we had to drop Henry off and say good bye – Ben bent down in front of the door of Henry’s carrier and said “Bye Henry! I hope you feel better. Have a good day!” There’s nothing quite like a 2-year old.

The best moments as of late are the evenings, right around 7:00, when I’m sitting down to feed Hannah and Ben comes in to say goodnight to us. Hannah always takes precedent over me. He comes in, wraps his little arms around his baby sister and gives her a gentle squeeze then makes sure to give her a kiss – sometimes on the head, other times on the hand, and then, so sweetly, says “goodnight Hannah!” and then I look up at his father and we acknowledge that we know we’ve done something right.

In “#dadlife” news – Alex has also been dading pretty hard, too. He and Ben have had some really special time together over the last few weeks. They went rock climbing, swimming and to the gymnastics gym recently. Ben and Alex are two peas in a pod and Ben is so much like his dad. It melts my heart watching the two of them together.

While I have such limited time to myself right now, it’s so hard to imagine life before kids these days. These two little humans have made my heart {and life!} so full. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Building the Lodge: Floors, Cabinets, Oh My!

It had been three solid weeks since Alex and I had seen The Lodge and boy did a lot happen in that time! We are SO close to completion.

There have been two crews in our house working furiously to finish up the interior. So many large and small details have been going on like installing the cabinets and built-ins, laying the hardwood floors, grouting tile, hanging doors, painting and installing trim, and the list goes on… take a look!

{Walking up the steps to the main floor – the refrigerator will be encased in the wood cabinetry seen at the top. The wood on the cabinet will be seen in random spots in the house. It’s a special process using vinegar and red wine rather than stain that creates a rustic gray look.}

{Hello kitchen cabinets! We will have a big vent hood above the range and a series of 3 open shelves on the walls above the kitchen counters. The corner shelf will help anchor some of the shelves so we can stack heavier items.}

{Kitchen island – we’ll have our microwave in the shelf here. I’m looking forward to having more drawers in the kitchen to use.}

{I hadn’t heard of toe kick cabinets before – these will be perfect for sheet pans, muffin tins and cooling racks and I won’t have to use a whole vertical shelf to store them. Win!}

{The hardwood floors are stunnnnnningggg! We went with a #2 knotty white oak floor with 5″ wide boards throughout the main level of the house. The bathrooms/entry/laundry will be tile, the basement and the loft/second floor will be carpet.}

{The pantry! I can’t get over how gorgeous the interior doors are.}

{The tile in the master bathroom looks slightly different and less trippy in person – I wasn’t able to capture it perfectly on my phone. We LOVED it in person. I also can’t get over how beautiful all of the bathroom vanities are.}

{Penny tiles in the master shower! They’re not grouted yet.}

{Still some work to do in here, as you can see. We also marked locations for towel bars/hooks, toilet paper holders, and the like.}

{Basement bathroom is coming along too.}

{The cedar ceilings are DONE! They’re absolutely breathtaking. They add another dimension to the house and help bring in a rustic, mountain vibe we wanted to make sure to incorporate.}

{Our first “fun” light fixture has been installed. It fits the house so well and we love the rustic elements it brings. It’s not hung at the proper height – it’ll come down about 10 feet.}

{I was so opposed to bi-fold doors, really in any context, but LOOK at these doors! The tracks they slide on are solid too. I’m converted!}

{I have so much admiration for craftsmen. One of my favorite parts of the home building process has been our frequent trips to the wood shop where all of our cabinets and built-ins and some of our furniture are being constructed. I appreciate so very much that these pieces are handcrafted just 2 miles from our house.}

{The basement! I can’t believe how bright it is down here, despite the lack of windows in the main room. This will be kid hangout zone. Phase two will include a bar!}

{We’re having custom metal railings with horizontal cable wires installed here on the landing, on the loft and outside on the deck. Peering down over the ledge is the front entry closet and we’ll have a built-in bench with cubbies and some hooks on the other side of the door.}

We’ve been busily ordering things for the house like bedding linens, big furniture pieces, accent furniture, lighting and the like. We haven’t pulled the trigger on housewares, like kitchen tools, yet, but that’ll come soon enough.

{Checking out some of the fabric samples.}

There were such great sales around the holidays that we decided to take the plunge and order the furniture. We have almost everything that we’re planning on ordering initially at this point.There are a few things we’ve decided to wait on until we’re in the space to see how it all feels and how we use it.

{My office at our house in Seattle has been overtaken by all of the boxes of things we’ve ordered.}

I’m not quite sure how the move-in process will look at this point. Our first furniture delivery is scheduled for February 4th, so hopefully we can get in by then. We can hardly wait!

Christmas 2018

This holiday season was extra special. We made so many memories and had new experiences, started new traditions and enjoyed time as a family.

Alex’s family flew out from Illinois to join us for Christmas at Suncadia Resort in the heart of the Cascade Mountains. We rented a beautiful house tucked into the snow-covered evergreens and made ourselves right at home for the week of Christmas.

Our days were spent cross country skiing, ice skating, playing with two-two-year old boys, eating, singing “The Wheels on the Bus,” making snowballs,moderating sharing of the toy guitars, downhill skiing and catching up. We were able to cross country ski out the back door of the house and that was so gratifying for me – there were a couple days where I strapped a kid to my back or hooked myself up to the ski trailer and just took off for the forest.

We also celebrated the second birthday of our nephew, Nico, on Christmas Eve. Alina put together an adorable “Wheels on the Bus” themed party for him. Both Ben and Nico love buses and the song “Wheels on the Bus” and it was perfect for a two-year old.

Hannah enjoyed cuddle time with her extended family, too, and Nico showed quite an interest in her. He is super sweet! Hannah also got plenty of floor time to practice sitting up – her newest skill she’s working on.

We’re already looking ahead to the holiday season of 2019 where we can spend it out at The Lodge and begin even more new traditions with our family. It’s so magical to be in the snow and the mountains during the holidays. Happy New Year!

Life These Days

Crazy has a whole new meaning to me right now. Alex’s and my plates are overflowing, it feels, with all that we have going on. I’m very, very thankful for the time between when the kids go to bed and when Alex and I go to bed so we can feel like we’re able to accomplish something during the day.

Our backup childcare plans didn’t work out for much of the lapse in childcare we had from our last au pair to when our new one arrives.

With no notice I dove head first into my new temporary role as a stay-at-home mom. We’ve enjoyed fun outings to the zoo, the children’s museum, a fun new bookstore, local toddler gyms and parks. Hannah got to test the waters of Ben’s co-op preschool {I’d love to send her there next year!}.

I also enjoyed a lot of down time with the kids at home. Since it’s getting dark out so early these days we were home by 4 or so most days. I put together some craft projects and some fun toddler activities, like turning a shoe box into a fine motor skills practice opportunity for Ben {he had to match the color of a pom pom to the color of a small hole then push the pom pom through – hello matching and fine motor skills!}.

Since I don’t have childcare, Hannah has been coming with me to my weekly Pilates lesson {luckily it happens to coincide with a time when Ben is at school}. Roxanne, my instructor, mentioned several times that Hannah just watches me and tries to mirror my moves. It’s been really sweet having her there. I wish I could bring her everywhere!

For the last 3 months I’ve been going to a weekly moms group called PEPS {Program for Early Parent Support}. It’s a group of local moms who just had their second child. We have a facilitator who leads our discussions on various parenting topics each week and we share our highs and lows, as well as learn something developmentally appropriate about our babies. I have come to really adore the group and look forward to my time with the other moms and babies. It’s been such a wonderful way to continue to boost our village and establish what I expect to be long-lasting friendships.

{Hannah is second from the right}

{Hannah won the award for “Most Sylish Baby” and “Most Likely to be a Movie Star”}

Poor sweet Ben was sick all of last week. He had a terrible cough. He needed lots of extra snuggles and love and enjoyed a lot of time on the couch with his friends Daniel Tiger and Peppa Pig.

Amidst the chaos it’s the holiday season. And we happen to be building a house and getting very near the finish line. And I also still have a job, which I’ve been trying to during spare moments. Somehow we’re managing just fine. It’s a little crazy, but Alex and I kind of like crazy. This is the season we’ve chosen for ourselves and I wouldn’t change it for anything.  I’m not going to get this time back and I’m sure enjoying these extra special moments.

Tis the Season!

We’ve been busy decking our halls, waiting patiently for Santa and decorating cookies and gingerbread houses galore. The Christmas season is SO much fun with a two year old who is just now at the age where he can truly grasp the concept and all of the activities that come along with.

The holiday season started with a really nice Thanksgiving. We wanted to have a very low-key Turkey Day, given we have a lot on our plate in December. At the last minute we ended up inviting some friends to enjoy our feast with us which ended up making the day all that more special.

Ben helped me decorate the tree and the house. He had his own ideas of how we should hang ornaments {not on the tree, that’s how!}. I ended up having a pile of ornaments to mend later on because they got dropped by an eager toddler. Oops!

Ben was so into decorating and loved seeing the transformation of the tree once it was lit. It is so endearing to watch the Christmas spirit and the magic of the season come alive through a young child’s eyes.

We turned Ben on to a few holiday movies {Elf and Polar Express} one dreary weekend. He loved sitting and watching a movie.

I hung up our advent calendar again this year and did a better job of planning our daily advent activities. Last year I didn’t keep track of planning or prep work that needed to go into a certain day’s activity, so when we pulled out the card I was unprepared. Thankfully this year I put a bit more thought and took good notes so I could keep up.

I think next year Ben will be more into it, though. There have been a few days where he just hasn’t remembered to get the activity out and then I remember when it’s too late. A few of our activities this year include: decorating gingerbread houses, writing a letter to Santa {there’s an adorable little mailbox in our neighborhood for mailing the letters!}, having eggnog as a special treat and going to play in the snow.

For the first time in a few years we’re adopting some families for Christmas. I intentionally requested young children and one of the families has two little boys that we asked Ben to help pick out toys for. I don’t think he quite got the concept {maybe I’m underestimating him} but he sure had fun picking out toys for them. I love the warm-fuzzy feeling of doing good in our community and spreading joy to others.

{I underestimated the amount of time it would take to wrap Christmas gifts for the children of three families.}

One of my holiday traditions is baking a boatload of cookies. I had a special helper in the kitchen this year. Ben was a stellar supervisor in the dough making process and he had a blast decorating the cookies a few days later. He had very strong preferences for sprinkle colors and then didn’t want to eat his creation!

Last weekend we also decorated our first gingerbread house together. Ben got to sample a lotttt of candy.

A major highlight for me from the holiday season thus far was our visit to Enchant, a holiday light festival down at Safeco Field, our baseball stadium. The whole field was turned into a Christmas light maze and ice skating rink. I had a blast!

The lights were magical and really unbelievable. I felt like I was ice skating along a river – it was a sweet, short little loop. The best part, though, was taking Ben ice skating for the first time. I grew up on a pond in Minnesota and have such fond memories of learning to skate as a very, very young child.

Alex just found out that there’s a skating rink about 5 minutes away from our mountain house. I hope we become regulars there – I’d love for our kids to grow up with that exposure, just like I had. Before this happens, though, I’m going to need to conjure up some new ice skates! My cousin’s hand-me-downs from age 12 took their last spin on the ice last weekend.

We have loads more to look forward to this holiday season. Our mountains just had a massive snowstorm and we’re considering going out to play in the powder one of these days. I can hardly wait to get Ben skiing this winter, and we’re counting down the days until Alex’s family arrives for Christmas.

 

Building the Lodge: Paint!

On a recent trip out to The Lodge, Alex and I needed to confirm our hardwood floors {we’re going with a #2 knotty white oak with a clear coat and 5″ floorboards} and do a walk through of the house with the tile guys. It was a big day out there and I suspect we’ll be back again very shortly.

The house looks great! The siding is done {!!!!!} and the inside is painted! It wasn’t actually a huge change from when we were out last – it seems like the little bits and pieces are coming together but now it’s small-scale changes. Take a look!

{The pillars are done on either side of the front door, and the whole house has siding!}

{The stairs off of the deck are installed now. We also have a driveway! The builder had them pour a sidewalk that leads to the back deck, as well as the front door.}

{Back steps off the deck are done too.}

{The walls are painted! All painting, with the exception of some touch ups, has been completed, and the mantel is in on the fireplace. I believe they’re starting the stonework on the fireplace very shortly. The interior fireplace stone will be the same as the exterior.}

{One more shot of the paint – it’s a white/gray/green color… I’m not one for describing colors very well!}

{And finally, here’s a shot of the floor sample we selected. Our doors are a knotty alder.}

 

Lately

Life has been a liiiiittle crazy around here lately. I’ve heard people say one {kid} is like none and two is like 20 {or insert other high number here} – I definitely don’t think that’s the case for us; however, the transition of me going back to work and our childcare and logistics of life have been a little bit nuts these last several weeks. Oh, and everyone has been sick.

Hannah kicked off my first day back to work with an eye infection and pink eye. Alex got it a few days later, along with a really nasty flu-like virus. Ben got the virus immediately, as did Hannah. The viruses get a little fuzzy because it almost seemed like Ben got a little cold first and then the nasty virus kicked in a week later and Alex got the nasty virus first and then a cold towards the end. Hannah’s just a champ so she powered right through it with a little extra sleep and a lot of congestion. Our crew was down for the count for 19 days. 19 days.

Somehow I got spared, which was great since I was on total mom duty for quite some time. I’m totally fine solo parenting, but in this instance it was tricky because I wasn’t expecting to be rolling solo and having no notice meant I didn’t have anything prepared for the days. I wasn’t sure if Alex just needed to snooze in the morning for an hour or if he’d be out all morning or all day. Planning is kind of helpful for my sanity. It was extra tricky having Alex try to sleep right in the heart of our house – it was so hard to keep Ben quiet and out of the room.

On the second weekend of Alex being sick I finally had enough of being cooped up and waiting to know if Alex was joining the living again and I picked the kids up and we took the bus downtown to the aquarium. I didn’t really think it through whatsoever – total impulse decision – but we were out of the house for about 4 hours and Alex got a good nap in and started to turn it around.

In the midst of the illnesses, Ben either was really down and out from being sick or he was going through a big brain development and he was a dissasssstterrrrrrrrrr. The course of the two weeks where everyone was sick was undoubtedly the most challenging parenting time so far. Holy cow. I have a feeling that was only a taste of what’s to come as we’re getting more into toddlerhood.

During this time it was inconceivable for Stacey to watch both kids at the same time. Hannah would have been completely neglected because Ben needed so much attention. Most days at some point I ended up taking at least one of the kids, if not both.

Alex and I joked that Ben became bipolar or possessed by a demon. One minute he’d be perfectly happy, then you’d ask which color straw he wanted and dear lord the world must have ended. Try to get him to get dressed and goodness gracious it was world war 3. There was a lot of screaming, hitting, kicking, temper tantrums, arguing, fighting, down right refusing, food throwing – you name it. Negotiating with a terrorist is what Alex called it. And then, just like that, our sweet little Ben returned.

How’s Hannah, you ask? Thank heavens she is a dream. Sweetest baby girl I’ve ever met. Hannah’s bright blue eyes and big full-body smile light up the room and can brighten anyone’s day. Seriously.

Amidst the chaos we did have some really sweet moments and a lot of fun. I’m loving doing preschool drop off with Ben and having my moms group with Hannah. We trekked out to the mountains, Ben and I baked some cookies, we’ve had numerous park trips and play dates and we went swimming together as a family.

FINALLY everyone seems to be healthy. I’m hoping we can get a few weeks before the next virus strikes.

 

Mountain Day!

Last weekend Alex and I needed to go out to our mountain house to make some decisions, so we made a day out of it and brought both kids AND had some friends meet us out there.

Just like our last big day trip, we had such a fun time. It’s getting harder and harder to want to leave. We’re so so so so so mentally ready to move into that house and just be there. The anticipation is so exciting and infuriating and we just can’t wait. More to come on the progress of the house.

I was a little nervous about the drive. Our first appointment was at 9:30 a.m. in a town 40 minutes past our mountain house – so, a 2 1/2 hour drive. We made it in the car right on time and the drive was a piece of cake. Ben got super bored eventually but managed to hold it together. Hannah has not been excited about being in her car seat lately but she slept the whole way out there. After our meeting we stopped at Anjou Bakery, which I had been dyyying to go to forever and a day.

The weather was picture-perfect again and after our appointments we set up a picnic and a play/climbing structure and let the kiddos run wild in the yard.

After a while we headed out to Lake Wenatchee for a camp fire and s’mores. It was so beautiful and so cold! We had a blast.

It was so special getting to share our piece of heaven with friends – it was like a preview into what life is going to look like so so soon. We can’t wait to share our mountain home with our family and friends and make a lifetime of memories out there. It’s exactly why we decided to get a house out there.

Back to Work!

Two weeks ago my blissful maternity leave came to an end and I went back to work. I’m fortunate that I really enjoy my job and the people I work with, but still, it wasn’t easy.

I was able to take three full months off with Hannah and it was so special to have that time to bond with her. I absolutely adore my sweet baby girl. Since we’ve been connected for so long it has been really hard to be away from her during the day.

Luckily I have been able to ease back into work and piece together my work schedule in combination with some kiddo things during the week. I’m in charge of taking Ben to his co-op preschool twice a week – one day I stay for the full time and the other day I drop him off and go work in a coffee shop. We’ve been sneaking some extra mama/Ben time in at the end of school and grabbing a coffee together.

I’m doing a moms group called PEPS that’s designed for mamas and their second baby. We meet one morning a week {babies and mamas} and it’s so nice to have that built-in time with Hannah during the week too.

So far the scheduling has been more streamlined than I expected and it’s really nice to get a chance to spend a little one-on-one time with both kids during the week. I’ve also been intentionally trying to limit the time that Stacey has to manage both kids at the same time. It really is difficult to manage the logistics of a two-year old along with a 3-month old.

We’re all still getting the hang of our new rhythm and waiting for it to change again {Stacey, our au pair, will be leaving us at the end of the month}. For now, I think our schedule is working out okay. Ben is loving both of his preschools and I’m happy that I get to spend some real quality time with both kids separately during the week.

{Poor Hannah had an eye infection that required a doctor’s visit on my first day back.}

It’s still hard to leave my kiddos during the day. I know the time goes so darn fast and I want to look back on this time feeling like I spent enough time with them and made enough memories. No one said being a working mom is easy – we can’t have it all!